Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
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BBF appealing to corporate Bahamas

Senior men’s national basketball team competing for spot in the 2019 FIBA World Cup
Members of the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF), with Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard (middle) and members of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. JOHN-MARC NUTT

With the Bahamas senior men’s national basketball team set to take on Canada on the road next month in their first of five International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup 2019 qualifying games, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard made an appeal to corporate Bahamas yesterday to help ease some of the cost involved with the team traveling to play in games abroad.

The Bahamas will travel to Canada in the first round of qualification games on November 24 at the Scotiabank Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Team Bahamas will compete out of Group D along with the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) and the Dominican Republic. A total of 80 teams are competing for 19 spots in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

The Bahamas plays its first home game on November 27 against the USVI. Then on Thursday, February 22, The Bahamas will host the Dominican Republic and Canada on Sunday February 25.

The team’s final two games will be on the road. On Friday, June 29, The Bahamas will take on the USVI and then play the Dominican Republic on July 2.

Pintard said that the government would do its best to assist the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) with its endeavor to ultimately qualify for a spot in the 2020 Olympics.

“I have to first congratulate the BBF and all of the local athletes competing on behalf of their country. We thank them for coming in in the midst of having various responsibilities and serving the country,” said
Pintard. “We have a unique opportunity to qualify for the World Cup in 2019 and then qualify for the Olympics the following year in Japan.

“I want to appeal to the corporate community to come on board and play a role in the making of history. The government of The Bahamas is assisting with this effort, but our resources alone will not be sufficient to assist our team in doing something that will be quite remarkable. I am asking the corporate community to partner with the government and the federation to ensure that the athletes can come home and train and also be able to compete in the away games as well.”

Mario Bowleg, who serves as both BBF Vice President and team head coach, said that the corporate support would be vital in ensuring that the BBF is able to field the most competitive team possible as they work to qualify for the World Cup.

“In order for this to happen, we need the necessary finances to make this work,” said Bowleg. “The players and coaches believe that the time is now for this time. We have a lot of great players that want to come and represent the country, but that won’t work unless we are able to bring them in, put them up, and treat them the way they want to be treated as professionals.

“The government’s financial support alone will not be enough to take us to the Olympics. This is not the federation’s team; this is The Bahamas’ team, so we are asking corporate Bahamas to come on board and assist us. We can put your names on jerseys; you can get a spot on the floor. These games are televised internationally, which will also be good for you as well.”

The top seven teams in the Americas region will advance. Group A is made up by Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Panama. Group B will comprise of Venezuela, Chile and Colombia, and Group C will include Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Cuba.

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